So. Here it is: Day One of 18 days off. Did you hear me? DAY ONE!
Settle down, people, settle down - especially all of you people out there who never get EIGHTEEN days in a row off. I know, I know, many people believe that those who work in the field of education are lucky - lucky to get days off at sporadic points during the year. Some of those people even think we get three months off in the summer - SO NOT TRUE. But this post isn't about the educator's life so we'll leave all the comments about the easy life at the back door, okay?
Any-hooey, the thing is, I get through my insanely busy days as a middle school administrator/counselor by making lists: lists of kids to see, lists of public relations duties, lists of parents to contact, lists of schedules and report cards and detentions to input , lists of meetings to attend, lists of reports to write, lists of blah blah blah. AND THEN, when we get to the weekend - the precious weekend - my lists become lists of things that need to be accomplished in those 48 hours: laundry, grocery shopping, exercise, hair cuts, housework, yard work, bike rides, painting, walking on the beach, reading, and, dare I repeat myself? blah blah blah. And, sadly, yes, I do put those leisure sorts of things on my to-do list so I can justify doing them.
So my brother Mark, acknowledging that this was the first day of my winter break had this suggestion in an early morning email today: "My goal, if I were you, would be avoid making lists of what I wanted to do, whether the lists are material, or cerebral. Makes for a more relaxed time." My initial reaction was, "Hmmmm, perhaps he's on to something there. Maybe I should see what it would be like not to be making and scratching off lists." And at first, I thought about that. I thought about trying a listless vacation, but something bothered me about that. I guess I was afraid I would forget an option of which I had earlier thought. For example, I know I want to futz in the yard but that is not something that I will necessarily gravitate towards. If I have it on a list, I will remember that option. Suddenly, I knew what I would do. I would still keep a list but I would view it as a list of options.
This is a list of things from which to choose to make my day. This is NOT a chore list, but pleasures all. Even cleaning up the house can be a pleasure, if the pace is right. I have yard work I want to do if the weather is nice. I have writing and walking and painting and reading and trips over to the ocean -- all WANTS. So this list is just to help my memory, just to be sure I know what the options are for my pleasure. The other thing about this list is that it is open ended. In other words, my choices for the day are not limited to the items on the list. So, on this, the first of EIGHTEEN days off, I am choosing to read, to write, to walk downtown later to do a tad of last minute Christmas shopping, to take an afternoon nap and who knows what else. I could get used to this.